1st Reading – Exodus 22:20-26
Thus says the LORD:
“You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
“If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people,
you shall not act like an extortioner toward him
by demanding interest from him.
If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge,
you shall return it to him before sunset;
for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body.
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”
Today’s first reading comes from ancient Israel’s code of law and reveals the humane nature of that law. This passage underscores Jesus’ teaching in today’s gospel about the integral connection between love of God and love of neighbor.
(This passage appears as Exodus 22:21-27 in most translations, but the New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and New Jerusalem Bible have it as Exodus 22:20-26.)